Led by the half-Asgardian god, half-human Agamemnon, the Pantheon is an organization comprised of his descendants, who are concerned with rescue and relief missions around the world.
Thousands of years ago
Thousands of years ago, a youth called Vali Halfling, the offspring of an Asgardian god and a human woman, makes a pact with the alien Troyjans: In return for granting him immortality, the aliens would be allowed to collect an occasional tithe in the form of Vali’s descendants.
His immortality takes effect while he’s still a teenager, and as such, he never physically ages past sixteen. Realizing Vali’s descendants would retain less of his power in their genetic structure in each subsequent generation, the Troyjans also aid him in the form of genetic manipulation, allowing him to pass a considerable amount of his godly attributes to his offspring.
Vali spends substantial time in Asgard, allying with the frost giant Siingard and apparently romancing the death goddess Hela before returning to Earth and taking the name Agamemnon.
Centuries ago, Agamemnon assembles the massive Pantheon organization, a thinktank dedicated to observing the world for potential disasters and averting them. They build a mountain-sized base in the Nevada desert called the Mount, a self-sufficient community with over 1,500 inhabitants and science facilities far ahead of the outside world, also employing many agents and bases around the globe. Over the centuries, Agamemnon gathers many of his descendants to act as core members of the Pantheon. After their deaths, he cybernetically enhances their corpses and stores them under the Mount, to be called upon as his “Endless Knights” should he ever need to destroy his own creation.
The Pantheon members have a range of powers, including superhuman strength, nigh invulnerability, energy manipulation—able to create energy-powered weaponry—pre-cognition, and telepathy.
In recent years, the Pantheon included the nearly invulnerable Achilles, a German Jew who discovers his power during the Holocaust; the superhumanly strong but mentally challenged Ajax; the agile energy arrow-using archer Atalanta; the energy-blasting Cassiopeia and her energy spear-wielding father Perseus; the precognitive Andromeda, her fire-arms expert husband Jason, their daughter, Delphi, who shares her mother’s gift; Hector, who can fly and wield an energy mace; energy sword and shield-using Ulysses; the low-level telepath Paris; and the scarred Prometheus, who possesses an uncanny tracking ability.
Wishing to conceal his true appearance, Agamemnon dwells in the Mount’s core, communicating through a holographic image of an elderly man. Approximately every 50 years, Agamemnon leaves the Mount to live among humanity. During this time, he would reproduce, creating new members to later be recruited to the Pantheon. Agamemnon neglects to tell any of his agents of their possible Troyjan fate and rules the group with a covert ruthlessness.
Trow-Mah, AKA Troyjan Trauma, attempts many times to abduct Atalanta to make her his bride. It comes to a head when Bruce Banner, AKA the Hulk, Norrin Radd, AKA Silver Surfer, and the freebooting space pirates who protect the innocent, the Starjammers, fought Trauma and his father Armageddon, killing the former.
Some of their foes reside within the ranks of the Pantheon, including its leader Agamemnon and Paris who are rather circuitous, which causes internal conflict. After the Pantheon members discover that Agamemnon promised them to the alien Troyjans in a tithe agreement, and seek him out to put him on trial, he sics his Endless Knights on them.
Pantheon members attempted to recruit Bruce Banner, AKA the Hulk, but found themselves in quite the predicament when one of them didn’t allow the Hulk’s closest friend Rick Jones into the bar where they met. A fight ensues between Ajax and the Hulk, but it was soon resolved when the Hulk didn’t want to endanger the public. He chooses to join the Pantheon to make up for all the damage he had been causing. The Pantheon’s reaction to their new ally was at first mixed but Ajax comes around and decides he’s his best friend. There’s even a time when Hulk leads the Pantheon in Agamemnon’s place.
The Pantheon comes into conflict with the X-Factor Super Team, but when innocents are threatened, they put their differences aside.
The Pantheon’s Path
When Ulysses became insubordinate, Agamemnon ordered Jason to murder him. Jason refused, at which point Agamemnon had the more willing Achilles carry out the deed. Jason then fled the group, fearing Agamemnon’s vengeance, while the recently recruited Walter Charles, was selected to become the new Ulysses. In subsequent years, Perseus retired and moved to Scotland, and his daughter, Cassiopeia left the Pantheon as well. Over the years, Troyjan Trauma, unsuccessfully attempted many times to abduct Atalanta, and claim her as the tithe that Agamemnon had promised his race millennia before. At some point, for unrevealed motives, the Pantheon developed a group of cyborgs called the Warzone.
In recent years, Agamemnon sought to recruit the Hulk, then in his gray, crafty “Mr. Fixit” form, and dispatched Prometheus, in a weapon-laden rocket car, to capture him. The Hulk’s savage persona reemerged during the battle, catching Prometheus unprepared, and soundly defeating him. Shortly afterward, just following the apparent merging of the Hulk’s personalities into the “Professor” persona, the Pantheon tried to recruit him again using a lighter touch. With Achilles, Ajax, and Prometheus waiting nearby, Hector, Ulysses, and Atalanta approached the Hulk in a bar, and conversed with him peacefully until the Hulk spotted Prometheus preventing Rick Jones from entering. The Hulk went to his friend’s aid, casually throwing Atalanta aside when she tried to stop him. This enraged the nearby Ajax, who held a great deal of affection for Atalanta. Ajax charged the Hulk, and an escalating fight ensued. Rather than risk civilian casualties in a public battle, the Hulk allowed himself to be captured and was taken to the Mount, where Agamemnon offered him membership. The Hulk accepted as a way of making restitution for all the destruction he had caused over the years. The reaction of the various team members to their new ally was mixed. Achilles discovered that the Hulk’s gamma radiation weakened his usual physical invulnerability, while Ulysses, Hector, and Atalanta cautiously welcomed him, and Ajax decided the Hulk was his new best friend. Delphi, however, foresaw hatred, death, and pain in their new arrival’s future.
The Hulk’s first mission for the Pantheon was to protect the Abomination’s former wife, Nadia, from her ex-husband. Despite being hampered by being temporarily reduced to a few inches tall by the mad Titan Thanos, the Hulk convinced the Abomination to let Nadia go free and continue believing her ex-husband dead rather than witness the monster he had become. Soon after, Ajax and Atalanta helped contain riots in New York City during the Infinity Gauntlet affair, when the populace believed the world was about to end.
Another mission at this time saw Achilles and Ulysses prevent several criminal operatives of Justin Hammer, including Barrier, Mark Scarlotti, AKA Blacklash (later Whiplash), and Keith Kraft, AKA Ringer, from stealing government secrets from an Air Force base. Next, Agamemnon sent the Hulk to Israel to stop Achilles from killing Max Meers, a boy who Delphi foresaw could become the next Hitler by using immense telepathic powers to enslave mankind. Though the Hulk and the Israeli Super Hero Sabra kept the child alive, he was badly injured and left in a coma. The Hulk returned to the Mount with Achilles in tow, unaware that Achilles had been acting exactly as Agamemnon had ordered him. They were also unaware that the telepathic powers they had thought belonged to Max Meers were those of his friend Gretta Rabin who was merely using Meers as a puppet. Upon his return to the Mount, Paris sent the Hulk on a mission to locate a missing Pantheon scientist, Sumner Beckwith, and to investigate several disappearances in the area. During the adventure, the Hulk encountered Ted Sallis, AKA Man-Thing, and fought with Beckwith, who had been transformed by his research into a monstrous Glob.
The Pantheon’s next mission was more ambitious. After months of planning, they attempted to overthrow the tyrannical regime of Farnoq Sawalha Dahn, ruler of the Middle Eastern nation Trans-Sabal. The Pantheon provided vehicles, weapons, and troops to the already existing resistance movement, and the Hulk faced a moral dilemma as to the legality of their actions. Their war in Trans-Sabal brought the Pantheon into conflict with the United States government-sponsored X-Factor Super Team who had been sent to aid Dahn. The two teams put their differences aside when Dahn threatened civilians with missiles. After averting the danger, the heroes subdued Dahn, who was subsequently shot and killed by Rick Jones.
On the anniversary of the gamma bomb explosion that had created the Hulk, the Pantheon abducted Igor Drenkov, a former Russian spy partially responsible for the Hulk’s existence. They were opposed by the Russian Super Hero team the People’s Protectorate. The conflict ended when Drenkov suffered a nervous breakdown after being confronted by the Hulk. Later, Paris was transformed into a demonic creature by the magic of the amateur sorcerer Lucian Aster (himself a pawn of the powerful mystic Wild One), and Paris fought the Hulk until returning to normal after being struck by lightning. Soon afterward, as Atalanta was returning from a mission, her ship was shot down over the Himalayas by the Troyjan Trauma. The Hulk rescued Atalanta, and together they defeated Trauma, sending him off a cliff. When the Hulk’s former Las Vegas boss, Michael Berengetti, was murdered by a rival, Sam Striker, and his super-powered henchman, Frost, Paris, Ulysses, and Hector accompanied the Hulk to Las Vegas to investigate, and joined forces with Frank Castle, AKA the Punisher, to bring Striker to justice. While they were away, the Leader sent the U-Foes to assault the Mount and capture Agamemnon; however, the absentees returned from Vegas in time to catch them in the act. Samuel Sterns, AKA The Leader, and his Riot Squad soon arrived as well, and the villains fought the Hulk and Pantheon in a pitched battle until the Leader and Agamemnon reached an agreement in which the Pantheon’s forces would aid the Leader in his struggle against the terrorist organization Hydra. The Hulk quit the Pantheon in disgust, but soon after, Agamemnon recanted on his promise to the Leader, and informed the Hulk of the villain’s location. The Hulk then traveled to the Leader’s base, Freehold, and foiled his arch-foe’s plans.
Afterward, the Hulk returned to collect his belongings from the Mount, where he talked with Agamemnon. The Pantheon leader confided in the Hulk that he felt he had lost touch with the outside world, while the Hulk expressed a lack of trust in the Pantheon’s priorities. Agamemnon, presenting a solution to both of their problems, showed his true form and revealed that he planned to take a leave of absence, asking the Hulk to serve as interim leader.
The Hulk’s time in command was stormy. Most Pantheon members accepted his leadership, but Achilles was resentful of taking orders from a perceived outsider. Wasting no time, the Hulk sent Ulysses on a mission in Iraq, and Atalanta and Hector to Croatia. On his own mission, the Hulk investigated a mysterious developer leveling large portions of the Amazon rain forest, where he fought Cain Marko, AKA Juggernaut, and Johann Shmidt, AKA Red Skull. Interpersonal problems arose amidst the team when Ajax discovered Atalanta and Achilles’ romance and needed to be physically restrained, and Ulysses began exhibiting prejudice toward Hector’s homosexuality.
Later, the Pantheon opposed Todd Hunter, AKA Lazarus, a being who had returned from the dead to gain vengeance on his wife and her lover for killing him, though the conflict ended after Lazarus gained a measure of revenge. After many years in retirement, Perseus called the Pantheon for assistance upon learning of a monster disturbing the tourists near his inn in Scotland. The monster proved to be the cyborg Piecemeal, working for the Hulk’s foe Phillip Sterns, AKA Madman. In the ensuing struggle, Perseus was killed. The Hulk defeated the villains and ordered Perseus’ daughter, Cassiopeia, be brought back to the Pantheon to honor her father’s last wishes. Soon afterward, the Hulk discovered his old girlfriend and ex-CIA agent, Susan Jacobson, was wrongly imprisoned in Nebraska, and along with the Pantheon, planned her rescue, but Achilles informed S.H.I.E.L.D. of the Hulk’s plans. Despite opposition from S.H.I.E.L.D. and its director, Nick Fury, they freed Jacobson and transferred her to a European Pantheon base.
Trauma later returned and kidnapped Atalanta, fleeing with her into space and aiming to make her his bride. The rest of the Pantheon followed in their ship, the Argo, to rescue their teammate. Achilles treacherously conspired to leave the Hulk to die in space, but the Silver Surfer and the Starjammers rescued him. The rest of the Pantheon were captured by the Troyjans and brought before their emperor, Arm’chedon, AKA Armageddon, Trauma’s father, on the Troyjan throne world. Armageddon informed them of Agamemnon’s bargain from millennia earlier, which granted the Troyjan their pick of his descendants. The Hulk, Surfer, and Starjammers fought Armageddon and Trauma, accidentally killing the latter; Trauma’s dying request, made from his love for Atalanta, was that the Pantheon be permitted to leave unimpeded. After they returned to Earth, the Hulk, Hector, and Ulysses foiled the Kree Lunatic Legion’s attempt to steal weapons from the Mount, and Achilles and Ajax returned to Trans-Sabal for a mission also involving the Pantheon field agent the Abdul Qamar, AKA Arabian Knight. Several members of the Pantheon also conflicted with Michiko Musashi, AKA Turbo, over her ownership of the high-tech Torpedo suit, which they saw as a threat to the world, until she proved she could use it well. During this time, several members of the Pantheon also attended Rick Jones’ bachelor party and wedding.
The Pantheon resolved to find Agamemnon and make him answer for promising them to the Troyjans; foreseeing this would lead to the Pantheon’s destruction, Delphi quietly departed. The prodigal Jason returned, also looking to settle the score with his former master. Agamemnon fled to Asgard and sought refuge in Siingard’s home. Following him, the Hulk, Cassiopeia, and Hector encountered Red Norvell, AKA Thor, and the Warriors Three. Together they confronted Agamemnon and faced the giant wolf Hoarfen (offspring of a Frost Giant and Fenris Wolf), who ate both the Hulk and Agamemnon, sending them to Hel until Agamemnon convinced Hela to return them both to life.
Returning to Earth, the Pantheon put Agamemnon on trial, but Agamemnon summoned the Endless Knights. In the subsequent battle, the Mount was destroyed. Achilles proved loyal to Agamemnon over his teammates and died battling them; Agamemnon was apparently killed when Atalanta shot down his escape vehicle with her energy arrows. With his death, the Endless Knights ceased functioning, and the Pantheon lay in ruins. The Mount’s civilians were relocated to an overseas facility along with Atalanta and Ajax. Hector, Cassiopeia, and Prometheus set out on their own, and Ulysses left to look for Delphi. Paris took control of the Pantheon as it began the long rebuilding process and informed the Hulk that the next time they crossed paths, the Pantheon would be his enemy.
However, the Pantheon’s other members disagreed, and insisting the group was now a democracy, outvoted Paris. They healed the Hulk’s new associate Janis Jones, left in one of their safe houses by Banner when she was struck down by a fever, but she escaped them after she recovered. When the Hulk became a fugitive once more, at a time when Bruce Banner’s essence had been removed from him; the Pantheon came to his aid. Paris falsely offered the government assistance in capturing him, and while Paris and Colonel Cary St. Lawrence watched a live broadcast, Hector, Ajax, Atalanta, Cassiopeia, and Jason attacked their old colleague. At a critical juncture, Cassiopeia temporarily blinded the observers with a flash of light, and the Pantheon faked killing the Hulk, providing the government with a fatally wounded cloned body.
Meanwhile, the group offered to take the Hulk back into the fold, but he forcefully declined. Later, the Pantheon discovered a small boy whose DNA matched Bruce Banner’s and concluded that the boy was Banner’s son. In reality, it was the alien changeling Elamron that had assumed that form after copying the Hulk’s DNA. They took the “boy” to a Pantheon safe house to protect him from the Hulk’s enemies and contacted Leonard Samson, AKA Doc Samson, for his expertise in the psychology of gamma beings. The Shi’ar Imperial Guard’s Kallark, AKA Gladiator, and Lady Sibyl, AKA Oracle, were sent to capture the alien for crimes he committed in a previous form. The Pantheon members tried to defend the boy, but were no match for Gladiator, who made short work of all of them. The Hulk subsequently defeated Gladiator.